Repeating The Claim That DRM Enables Things Won't Make It True

from the again-and-again-and-again dept

One of manufacturers and supporters of DRM's favorite lines is about how DRM "enables" all sorts of wonderful new things, when it simply isn't true. DRM makes nothing possible in and of itself, it merely exists to frustrate users and lock down content. It's all hot air, no matter how many times it gets repeated by entertainment industry execs trying to make their content-restriction technologies sound like a good thing. The RIAA's Mitch Bainwol, as you might expect, has talked plenty of nonsense about the value of DRM and why it's necessary. He's now gone a step further, telling an industry event that "DRM serves all sorts of pro-consumer purposes." Really? Name one, Mitch. He then put the blame for consumer frustration with copy-protection on interoperability issues. While interoperability certainly is a major pain point, it's one that exists only because of DRM. Ditch the DRM and the interoperability problems disappear, and along with it, so many consumer headaches. That would be the "pro-consumer" move.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 6:32am

    What??? If I just keep doing the same thing over and over and over and over the outcome won't change???

    lol

     

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  2.  
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    Joe Smith, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 6:32am

    interoperability

    Interoperability is not an issue separate from DRM - it goes to the heart of the design of DRM.

    If the industry wants DRM to succeed the first thing they have to do is design a consumer (as opposed to industry) friendly model of DRM. The problem is that that industry is trying to not merely lock down content - they are also trying to lock down each other with DRM that can collect licencing fees from manufacturers.

     

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  3.  
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    chris (profile), Apr 26th, 2007 @ 6:46am

    repeating stuff doesn't make it true?

    tell that to the advertising industry. why do you think they run the same commercials again and again?

     

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  4.  
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    The infamous Joe, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 6:51am

    Boy, I'm full of quotes this week.

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    -Albert Einstein


    This problems comes up a lot these days.

     

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  5.  
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    davidwr, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 6:55am

    But DRM does enable things

    **sarcasm**
    * DRM enables content vendors to pwn our computers.
    * DRM, through planned obsolescence and device incompatibility, enables content vendors to make people pay twice for the same thing
    **end sarcasm**

    On a more conceding note, DRM does have a few potential benefits for consumers. It's just in that they are dwarfed by the harmful aspects.

    Potential benefits to consumers:

    By deterring copyright infringement at a reasonably low cost to the content provider, they allow content vendors to charge more than the market would otherwise bear. This can result in higher profits which will allow projects to get funding that otherwise would stay on the shelf. This, BTW, is one of the reasons for copyright laws in the first place. A better solution is to appeal to people's sense of honesty and fair play. It worked for the author of Far Side.

    If there will be fewer sales "lost" to "pirates," the vendor can lower the price and make the same profit. Unfortunately, the vendor is more likely to keep the price at the "sweet spot" for him not for the customer. But it is a potential benefit.

     

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  6.  
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    The infamous Joe, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:04am

    Re: But DRM does enable things

    If there will be fewer sales "lost" to "pirates," the vendor can lower the price and make the same profit.

    This is the way it works:

    I hear of a band, but have never heard them.

    I download some of their music.

    If I like them, I buy the music.

    If I don't like them, I don't buy their music.

    So, there are no lost sales, only better informed purchases.

     

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  7.  
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    Angry Rivethead, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:04am

    The RIAA just needs...

    A Dirty Sanchez with extra Donkey Punches.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:08am

    hmmmm, I think eMusic.com continues to do a very brisk business, thank you very much. Let's see:

    1) 192kbps VBR as opposed to Apple's 128kbps

    2) roughly 30 cents a song and $3-4 an album as opposed to most other services that charge $1 a track or $10 an albums.

    3) NO DRM

    Not to mention that, despite claims to the contrary, you can find plenty of "name" bands (even if it's only some of their early releases in some cases), and plenty of lesser known bands that are every bit as good as, and in some cases vastly better than, the stuff peddled on the radio.

    Personally, I've got so much music lined up on eMusic I wish I had a second or third account to acquire it all.

    I bought about 100 albums a year from 1987 until 2001. I stopped buying music until last year because of the crappy quality, excessive price, and crappy industry policy. In the past year or so I've bought about 150-200 albums(I'd say about 60% digital) and not one of them has been from a major label. Bite that RIAA, I found my music fix elsewhere and I'm not coming back

    Also Stage.fm is another good place to find music.

     

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  9.  
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    JAM, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:14am

    But it does work.

    Lie, lie until they belive it.

    Joe Stalin

     

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  10.  
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    Ben, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:23am

    There is one thing..

    I am no big fan of DRM and i would never BUY music encumbered with DRM. However it is a fact that DRM allows the music rental/subscription model used by napster et al. These are genuinely usefull services that simply would not be feasable without DRM.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:51am

    Re: Boy, I'm full of quotes this week.

    I wonder if that quote was referring to quantum mechanics.. since the outcome of a single iteration of a quantum experiment is not necessarily the outcome of each iteration. Quantum mechanics only tells you the likelihood of a given outcome(Something Einstein didn't like about it.).

     

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  12.  
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    YouKnowNothing, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:02am

    War is Peace.
    Ignorance is Strength.
    Freedom is Slavery.

    DRM Enables.

     

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  13.  
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    Vincent Clement, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:10am

    Re: There is one thing..

    Useful to whom? And how would they not be feasible without DRM?

     

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  14.  
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    John Bailey, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:24am

    Re: There is one thing..

    In answer to Ben...

    Online music sales are quite possible without DRM. Emusic and now Apple offering non DRM music being existing cases in point. Rental would be difficult, but it is a questionable benefit in the case of music.

    No reason to suspect it to be otherwise with movies. The DVD DRM has been broken for years. To the extent that it is a trivial matter to duplicate a DVD with freely available tools and a little more time than it takes to watch the movie. Yet DVD rentals are going strong. Especially online where there is a greater choice of titles and no late fees. It must be way quicker to rent a movie than it is to use P2P or bit torrent networks and then once you eventually get the actual movie you are looking for, to burn it onto a DVD. Much less chance of getting caught too I would assume.

    DRM is a farce. It reduces the flexibility of the media to be played in the equipment available, so making it less useful. A dubious advantage for anyone.

     

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  15.  
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    James, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:27am

    Nuts

    If DRM enabled anything we'd all be enjoying our DAT drives right now :-p

     

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  16.  
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    Wizard Prang, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: But DRM does enable things

    only better informed purchases.

    There's the problem right there. The recording industry has always like the hit-single/buy-the-album business model.

    How many times have we purchased an album to find that they were 80% crap?

    They are terrified that their customers might be better informed and take their money elsewhere.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:35am

    Re: Boy, I'm full of quotes this week.

    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -Albert Einstein" No, that's technically no longer insanity. That's now called "working with Windows." XD

     

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  18.  
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    matthew gambrell, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:44am

    my personal manifesto

    I feel a little bad advertising here, but I'll only do it once.

    I read this site every day and have enjoyed watching the rapidly approaching demise of DRM. I hate DRM. I have railed against it as often as I can, forbidden friends and family whenever possible from using DRMed media, and spent mental energy trying to refine my ideas.

    All the arguments for DRM are pathetic. Please tell me how to show more contempt, so that I can do it. I have put my money and time where my mouth is: I just launched an online music (newage) store at http://www.melodyscape.com

    These artists aren't crying for DRM. Maybe or maybe not DRM enables some things, but here's what NO DRM enables: me to work with these musicians and get them a few sales they wouldn't get otherwise, and to create friendly relationships with listeners and musicians, instead of the hostile ones that record labels like to create.

    As a musician, the correct path right now is to make friends with your fans and trust them to buoy you. This is a bit hard to believe in the current environment where the music industry has trained musicians and listeners to be mortal enemies, but there is a phrase "patron of the arts" which is a praiseworthy role for an individual to undertake, and one that is everyone's birthright as a citizen of an affluent civilization. DRM stands in the way of that.

    Each of you knows what you personally need to do if you want to fight it. I wish you all the courage and strength to actually do it.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    Re: But DRM does enable things

    Hello Mr Brainwashed by the RIAA.

    "By deterring copyright infringement at a reasonably low cost to the content provider"

    In no way, shape or form has any DRM ever hindered piracy.

    Why do muppets like you keep trotting this complete lie out? Please provide a single example of any digital media that is publicly available and that is protected by copy protection that cannot be easily obtained via street vendors, bit torrent, newsgroups or whatever other supposed illegal means.

    I'll bet my arsehole you can't give me one. Not that you'd want my arsehole, because you're obviously one yourself.

     

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  20.  
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    matthew gambrell, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 8:59am

    re: In no way, shape or form has any DRM ever hind

    To be fair, it hinders casual piracy among those users not participating in filesharing. I dont think anyone except DRM purveyours (who, as salesmen, trump up their products claims and expectations more than is wise) are claiming that it hinders "piracy" the initial act of ripping and distribution.

    Unfortunately, it also hinders casual viral marketing i.e. "check out this song!!!"

    Both effects are real--they go hand in hand. In fact the failure to see piracy as marketing is the very core of the industry's behemoth screwup.

     

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  21.  
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    Randy, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 9:34am

    War is Peace.
    Ignorance is Strength.
    Freedom is Slavery.

    DRM Enables.

    ---
    War can enable Peace - See post years of WW2- 1946-1956'ish

    Ignorance can sometimes give you Strength - Can't cite an example, but I know it's true :)

    Freedom can lead to Slavery - See the Patriot Act for an example

    DRM enables - It does, just not primarily for the consumer

     

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  22.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Apr 26th, 2007 @ 9:55am

    I have developed an analogy on the evils of DRM. As most everyone knows DRM does not enable anything, it deprives the user of being able to freely use their content.

    Imagine a gallon of milk, it costs $4.00. The gallon of milk represents the body of rights a content user has, the right to change formats, the right to mix/match, the right to time shift, etc. Each of these rights is analogous to a pint.

    DRM allows the content sellers to stop selling the milk by the gallon and only sell the milk by the pint at $1.50 a pint.

    The content sellers claim that that by dividing one big right into four smaller rights that they are creating value and flexibility for the consumer. Hogwash.

    They also claims that this al-carte service will save the consumer money. In fact the consumer, under this scenario, would pay $6.00 for the gallon of milk instead of $4.00. Hardly an economic benefit to the consumer.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 10:14am

    Re:

    Please don't be disingenuous. Implicit in your analogy is the supposition that consumers need fewer pints, so they will appreciate smaller portions being available, and that one of the pints is vanilla which is only available in smaller quantities due to it being newer and in smaller demand but is a delicious new flavor to try out.

    Of course, this supposition is wrong. Its part of the philosophy though.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    I say this about your analogy. The reason they want to convince you that its a deal is because they hope customers aren't smart enough to realize they would have to pay $6 instead of $4 for a gallon. It is true that DRM enables nothing but the point of marketing isn't to advertise their product in hopes that you will chose it, the point is to make you think you must have their product.

    Yes DRM is nothing but a product that the industry is trying to force on us by claiming it will add vale to music.


    I personally don't like messing with analogies but I just had to chime in.

     

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  25.  
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    YouKnowNothing, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    You don't read much, do you?

     

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  26.  
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    Buzz, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 11:05am

    No freedom!

    I am quite baffled at the industry's logic:

    Company X shows off its commercial all over TV (for free, even on non-cable channels). Fans find company X's commercial entertaining, so they upload it to YouTube for anyone to find and view. Rather than accept the increased publicity, company X flips out and demands that YouTube take its commercial down immediately regardless of the fact that the fans did not edit the commercial in any way (i.e. removing the product being advertised or company logo). Company X feels entitled to having complete control over what information flows into our heads despite having just forced it into our faces against our will (when it first aired).

    The problem only escalates with this issue of music and DRM. Rather than devise new marketing schemes, companies invest everything they have into instilling control. As a software developer, am I the only one who takes piracy as a compliment? Sure, it means sales are not as high as they could have been (before factoring in the unprecedented amount of advertising that piracy provides), but obviously my creative output was so good that people out there wanted it that badly.

     

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  27.  
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    The infamous Joe, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 11:08am

    So, you want an analogy, do ya?

    Suppose that camera makers were worried that you would take your camera and make child porn with it, so it only worked in specific theme parks and recreational facilities that had an agreement with said camera manufacturer. If you wanted to take pictures at someone else's home, or on the street, or in a theme park NOT associated with the manufacturer, then it would simply not power on.

    When you complain, they shrug and say, "No, it enables more things you can legally do with your camera, because we don't have to worry you're going to break the law with it." and when you say that you want it to work everywhere they smile smugly and reply, "Well, we're trying take care of those interoperability issues, but sea world won't pay us the money we want."

    THAT is what DRM is. They assume you are going to do something illegal with the product, so they limit you, thus saying "We're pretty sure you're trying to rip us off, all of you including 12 year old boys and 88 year old women, so we're going to beat you to the punch."

     

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  28.  
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    Buzz, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 11:33am

    RE: So, you want an analogy, do ya?

    That analogy was wonderful. I physically LOL'd while I read it and even called in my wife to see it. That is exactly what DRM does.

    The infamous Joe FTW

     

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  29.  
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    Jon Healey, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 11:53am

    DRM is just a technology

    Of course DRM can enable new business models. Ben's example of subscription music services is a good (and obvious) one. If you don't like subscriptions, don't subscribe. But there are well over a million people who do -- read the comments from Rhapsody users sometime. When they're not complaining about software glitches (not DRM-related, BTW), they're loving the ability to play as much music as they like from just about any artist for $10 a month.
    Some companies use DRM in objectionable ways, but that doesn't mean DRM, as a class of technologies, is irredeemable. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." And Carlo, just because you've made your argument repeatedly, that doesn't mean you're right, either. How would cable or satellite TV be possible without their version of DRM, conditional access? How would Sirius and XM be in business without their version of DRM?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    Re: DRM is just a technology

    I may only speak for myself, but I probably speak for others, too: we can accept the notion of a subscription service to which access must be restricted. Any further protections are ridiculous, such as those that gimp your ability to time and place shift as conveniently as possible. Thats where it transitions into the familiar realm of DRM where we are certain that its no good.

     

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  31.  
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    RandomThoughts, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 12:41pm

    DRM enables profits, thats about it.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    And in our economic system it is generally supposed that profits enable production. A lot of awesome stuff would not have been made without the lure of profits. To enable profits is to enable all those things.

    Note: other things can spur production, as well.

     

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  33.  
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    Joe Schmoe, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 1:22pm

    "DRM enables profits, thats about it."

    Only if we (as consumers) allow it to!

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 1:52pm

    Quoty

    The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.

    Friedrich Nietzsche

     

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  35.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Apr 26th, 2007 @ 4:59pm

    Another negative aspect of DRM, that I overlooked in my analogy; an expiration date. DRM allows the content producer to "vaporize" content at their will; obviously not a benefit to the consumer.

    On the issue of a subscription service as being a "good" use of DRM, wrong. Subscription services can be done by logging in and paying a monthly fee or a unit fee based on the quantity of songs downloaded. There is no reason for DRM.

     

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  36.  
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    Jon Healey, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Steve R.'s comment on subscriptions

    That depends on what kind of subscription model you're talking about. If it's bulk buying, sure -- no DRM needed. See eMusic. But if it's about paying for access to something (music, games, cable TV networks), and you're trying to offer a price differential between access and ownership, you need DRM. Otherwise, it's just bulk buying, and sellers are going to demand much higher prices.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:08pm

    LP, 8-track, cassette, dolby cassette, soundtrack,

    LP, 8-track, cassette, dolby cassette, soundtrack, CD, DVD, my money, commercial sponsored....

    myDRM is when having paid for a song, regardless of format- rather through spending my own money, or listening to a commercial from a sponsor who is spending money- I, THE CONSUMER, THEN HAVE DIGITAL WRITES TO THE CONTENT IN ALL ITS FORMATS, PRESENT AND FUTURE, FOR PERSONAL, NON-COMMERCIAL USE...

     

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  38.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:38pm

    Re: Re: There is one thing..

    I've been able to make copies of all my kids DVDs using tools that until recently were freely available. I put the original DVD away and make as many copies as I want - no more worrying about damage to or losing the DVD. I also made xvid versions, enabling me to copy 5 or more movies onto a single DVD - a god send on long trips. Screw you MPAA. Screw you RIAA.

     

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  39.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Apr 26th, 2007 @ 7:42pm

    Re:

    DRM increases costs, which decreases profits. People will tend to buy less of something when it fails to work as expected. I had several Disney DVDs that will not work with several standalone DVD players. Once I rip a copy, remove the copy protection, and burn a new copy, they play perfectly in said DVD players.

     

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